Raising Awareness About Multiple Myeloma

Marie Lowe By Marie Lowe, 23rd Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/42bm4_cb/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

The blood cancer Multiple Myeloma has been claiming lives for decades. When it claimed the life of my father in 1986, many had never heard of it and there were no treatments that we were made aware of. Today there are treatments but a cure is still desired.

Multiple Myeloma enters my teenage world

Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer that among other things weakens the bones.
I was introduced to the cancer nine days before my 16th birthday when it took the life of my father who was 62 and had always been healthy and strong.
Then one day he broke his sternum at work.
He was in severe pain and began sleeping on the floor in the dead of winter to avoid crawling in and out of bed.
He began to grow weak and my uncle finally forced him to go to the doctor.
The beginning of the end had begun and he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia on Dec. 27, 1985.
After a series of tests the doctors revealed he was suffering from Multiple Myeloma and there was nothing they could do.
My father died Jan. 27, 1986. He went from a strong healthy man to a sick man with very little body weight in no time.
No one in my family had ever heard of the disease and I remember my aunt asking if it was heredity. I was offended but understood and then later realized that I had the same question.

Facts about the disease

The disease is characterized by excessive numbers of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow. It weakens the bones and the immune system which like in my father's case, can lead to broken bones and pneumonia.
To date an exact cause has not been pin pointed but there are many suspect causes including exposure to chemicals.
As the years passed and I fought my way through school trying to find my path in life, I decided that one day I would try to do something to assist in the battle against this cancer. When I tell people the story of what happened to my father, most say they have never heard of it.

Diagnosis of celebrities brings awareness to the disease

The disease gained some attention when politician Geraldine Ferraro was diagnosed with the cancer in 1998, 12 years after my father passed. She beat the disease and became an advocate for research. She died in 2011 of pneumonia.
Former New York Yankee Mel Stottlemyer, former NFL football player Elijah Alexander, and longtime NBC newsman Tom Brokaw have been diagnosed.
After reading that Stottlemyer was diagnosed I sent him a letter. No response of course but Wikipedia reports he is living in remission and is an avid supporter of Multiple Myeloma Research.
Alexander died of the disease in 2010, five years after being diagnosed.
He created the Tackle Myeloma Foundation.
Brokaw announced in 2014 he is in remission.
http://www.multiplemyeloma.org is a site full of information on the disease.
A list of symptoms and an explanation of how the disease destroys healthy cells can be found on this site along with ways to help make a difference.
If this article has peaked your interest or if you to have been robbed of a loved one by this disease, I hope you will take the time to log on and find a way to help in the battle against this disease.
When my father was diagnosed it was an instant death sentence.
Today people are living with it.
Maybe tomorrow a cure can be found and other teenagers will not have to experience the loss of a parent like I did.

Tags

Elijah Alexander, Mel Stottlemyer, Multiple Myeloma, Tom Brokaw

Meet the author

author avatar Marie Lowe
I earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma.
My motto- Life is like a marathon, the closer you get to the end, the more it hurts.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

Sorry to hear about your sad loss. And you are correct...most people have never heard of it. I myself didn't until I heard of Geraldine Ferraro getting it in 1998, as you mentioned in your article. I remember thinking how great it was when she beat it and lived on for quite some time. Information is power. Thanks for taking the time to write this piece.

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